Brave protesters overcoming fears and standing up to regime’s security forces, Dec. 30, 2017. (Iran Focus)

By Camelia Entekhabifard

October 10, 2020

Iran lost one of its brightest stars of art and music on Friday when world famous maestro and traditional Persian singer Mohammad Reza Shajarian lost his battle with cancer.

The 80-year-old singer dedicated his life to Persian poetry, art and most importantly to stand with people when it comes to politics.

He was banned from performing to the public after he upset the regime with his comments about the disputed presidential election back in 2009.

Iran’s tolerance of music and artists became limited after the revolution took place. Music was called “haram” (forbidden) by founder of the republic, Khomeini, and it would take years after his death for artists to perform in public.

Fifteen years after the revolution, Mohammad Reza Shajarian had an opportunity to sing and to enliven Iranian cultural heritage.

In a country where everything is politicized, the death of an artist is viewed as a threat for a regime, whose greatest fear is the Iranian cultural heritage that can act as a source of unity.

Despite all of the challenges confronted by the Iranian people, their habits and love for art and poetry has not changed and has not been forgotten.

The Shiite regime has not succeeded in changing the people, nor put an end to public interest in music and art. The regime is afraid of history – anything that can connect or remind the Iranians of their past.

Public resistance of attempts to melt their hundreds of years of habits and culture is the main fear of the rulers of Iran.

One of the most well-known national television presenters, Mr. Mohammad Reza Hayati, lost his job a few months ago when he causally expressed his admiration of Iranian singer, Ebi Hamedi, who is living in exile in California.

The presenter has a long history of devotedly working for the system and had announced the news of Khomeini’s death, but lost his job because of his causal comments about admiring a banned singer.

The Iranians are not only suffering from sanctions and an oppressive regime, but also restrictions imposed on cultural heritage that the regime deems as un-Islamic or “vulgar”.

When news of the maestro’s death broke out, people gathered in front of Jam hospital in Tehran and chanted “death to the dictator”.

The chants were directed against Ali Khamenei, who is running the nation with an iron fist and leading a normal life that most Iranians can only dream of. They dream of a life where people can live respectably and exercise their constitutional rights as citizens that have been denied to them.

The maestro was buried of national epic poet Hakim Ferdosi in Mashhad.

During the dark ages of the mullah rule over Iran, the respect and dedication shown to an extraordinary artist like Mohmmad Reza Shajarian will help keep the small flame of the cultural heritage alive.

Mr. Shajarian was laid to rest near the tomb of the great Ferdosi. This is a reminder that art and culture played a major role for Iranians to resist against the oppressive rulers and to persevere. History always tells the truth.

Asharq Al-Awsat

About Track Persia

Track PersiaTrack Persia is a Platform run by dedicated analysts who spend much of their time researching the Middle East, in due process we fall upon many indications of growing expansionary ambitions on the part of Iran in the MENA region and the wider Islamic world. These ambitions commonly increase tensions and undermine stability.